Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (31 Mar 2011)
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
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Looking For Alaska. Where do I start with this book? I feel like I’ve started and stopped writing a review for this book so many times, but couldn’t find the right words. Let’s being at the beginning (duh). I read this book and fell in love (because really, you can’t read John Green and be the same again after) almost 2 years ago. It was one of those books you start, and though you may finish it, it will never be finished with you. Out of all John Green books, this is my absolute, hands down, favourite. This was THE book, and metaphorically, the moment I fell in love with John Green’s writing. Enough gushing, let’s get right to it. (Though I should warn you, there will be a gush fest over John Green somewhere in this review. I’ll try to warn you beforehand. There may be flashing icons. Continue with caution).
Looking for Alaska is a beautiful story about friendship, about self discovery and not in the wishy-washy “why am I here” kind of way. If you haven’t realised already, but Green has an exceptionally poignant writing style which almost perfectly captures teenage lives (despite the fact he is a 36 year old guy, married with a son). He pens a fantastic story where we head with Miles Hunter, to Culver Creek Boarding School. As a lonely kid who seeks “The Great Perhaps” of life, he finds friendship (and we find delicious wit and humour) in the form of Chip Martin and elusive and mysterious Alaska Young.
The wit, humour, and absolute hilarity of this book was hidden from me until I read it. Imagine it being 4am, and all your parents and siblings can hear from your room is the sound of your oh-so-attractive-snorting laughter. I couldn’t help the tears that formed from reading this book. This book packed such a punch, aside from making my cheeks hurt with laugher and developing a 6 pack, there was such poetry in the writing, that just made the story even more delicious to consume. There’s love, yes, oh so undeniable love, discovery, tears and tragedy - that all comes together to form an epic debut novel. These characters are beautifully flawed, irrational, spontaneous and very much real - which adds such a genuine touch to the story. Divided into “before” and “after” - everything becomes parallel and when you reach the end, you really do feel like you’ve taken such a great journey.
My copy of this book is in tatters (which is so rare for me, I love my books in pristine conditions) but this book has endless post it notes and bookmarks from where I’ve fallen in love the quotes. If you’re familiar with the John Green hype, and are an avid tumblr user, you may have come across the “I was drizzle and she was a hurricane” quote, amongst others. Needless to say, endless quotes have been transported from this very book and have become teenage-lore. I will dutifully share my favourite quotes at the end.
I’m getting the sense this review isn’t very.. helpful in telling you the details on the story. It’s more of a gush fest, which I sadly can’t help. I simply love this book and thus fail to put into words my emotions. But take my word for it nonetheless, and go grab this book - it is so worth the hype. And then report back here to tell me how right I was. Please.
Warning: John Green gush fest up ahead.
John Green, despite being a 36 married man and father of 1, just “gets” teenagers so well, it’s kinda frightening (what you been eating John?). He’s an insanely talented and intelligent writer who’s written 6 books for young adults - the link for 1 of which can be found here). With a heart warming and exceptionally addictive writing style, he has become one of my favourite authors and I’m itching to read more of his books.
Okay I’m done here, now enjoy some quotes, which will, WILL convince you to go out and get his books and let his world domination continue.
“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
“What the hell is that?" I laughed.
"It's my fox hat."
"Your fox hat?"
"Yeah, Pudge. My fox hat."
"Why are you wearing your fox hat?" I asked.
"Because no one can catch the motherfucking fox.”
“It's not because I want to make out with her."
Hold on." He grabbed a pencil and scrawled excitedly at the paper as if he'd just made a mathematical breakthrough and then looked back up at me. "I just did some calculations, and I've been able to determine that you're full of shit”
“I am going to take this bucket of water and pour it on the flames of hell, and then I am going to use this torch to burn down the gates of paradise so that people will not love God for want of heaven or fear of hell, but because He is God.”